New Orleans City Council Passes Ban the Box Ordinance that will take Effect in March 2019

Ban the Box

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

October 18, 2018, the New Orleans City Council (NOLA) passed a Ban the Box ordinance which will prohibit the City and City contractors from asking about the criminal history of potential employees on initial job applications. The legislation takes effect on March 1, 2019, according to a NOLA press release.

The Ban the Box ordinance was authored by District “C” Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer. The March 1, 2019, date that the Ban the Box ordinance will take effect allows New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration time to inform contractors and train employees on the new law.

“Ex-offenders should not serve a life sentence after serving time in prison. This new policy allows them a chance to be considered for employment based on their qualifications and experience related to the position they’re applying for and not their past,” Councilmember Palmer stated in the press release.

In 2014, New Orleans enacted a similar Ban the Box policy for classified and unclassified jobs in all City departments, boards, agencies, and commissions. Councilmember Palmer’s ordinance codifies this policy and extends it to all entities with a City contract, grant, or cooperative endeavor agreement.

New Orleans will still conduct criminal background checks on all candidates and make final hiring decisions for people with records using relevant information such as experience, the seriousness of any past conviction, when the incident took place, and what has occurred in the applicant’s life since then.

“Ban the Box” is a growing nationwide movement that seeks to advance job opportunities for people with prior criminal convictions by eliminating any inquiry into the criminal history of candidates on job applications, specifically the check box that requires candidates to disclose their criminal history.

As of October 2018, more than 150 cities and counties as well as 33 states have passed Ban the Box laws in America. Louisiana passed a Ban the Box law that took effect August 1, 2016, and affects some state applications. Cities with Ban the Box laws in Louisiana include New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

The fact that employers must comply with a myriad of overlapping local and statewide Ban the Box laws in the United States is one of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2018 as selected by leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR).

ESR offers a complimentary whitepaper entitled “Ban the Box Now More than the Exception for Employers when Screening” and the free “ESR Ban the Box Resource Guide for States, Counties & Cities” to help employers deal with Ban the Box law nationwide and give ex-offenders and second chance.

ESR Ban the Box Resource Page

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) offers employers a Ban the Box Resource Page the contains complimentary whitepapers, infographics, and an interactive map updated with the latest Ban the Box laws. The Ban the Box Resource Page is at www.esrcheck.com/Legislative-Compliance/Ban-the-Box/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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